A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY:
..ONE scene undermined an entire movie..exposing cracks in the verisimilitude..
I actually enjoy RISE OF SKYWALKER. I loved what it did with Kylo Ren/Ben. I adore Daisy. The conceit of the Emperor’s return, through from nowhere in this trilogy’s terms (and wasting the Snoke character and First Order in its wake), has now been explained adequately such that it does not rob Anakin of the Vader redemption in Return of the Jedi. This is the same threat Palpatine personified but a new iteration in clone form. He still died and was defeated in the original movies.
The action is paced perfectly, helped by John Williams’ score. Lando is still cool and Leia manages to play a vital role despite her scenes being assembled from cutting room floor clips. I don’t see how the abandoned Colin Trevorrow treatment is significantly better. Seriously: I find DUEL OF THE FATES a rather dull, muted, bathetic anti-climax. The episode 9 we did get at least can inspire HATE..which indeed it does, in places, even in a pure Jedi soul like mine..WHICH BRINGS ME, INEVITABLY TO..
- ‘THEY FLY NOW?!’
- ‘THEY FLY NOW’!
Think about this, for a second.
It takes us all out of the narrative of the film, thereby exposing the sad fact that there simply wasn’t one in play to begin with.
No plan. No continuity. Zero vision at work. Just a rushed job to meet a deadline and close not only a trilogy but also a saga, despite the disjointedness of that doomed enterprise.
That is not necessarily JJ ABRAMS’ fault. He did the best that he could, with what he had, at short notice. But it’s still a bad job.
Consider the following points:
- This trio (Poe, Finn, Rey) simply has not EARNED the kind of banter on display. Even Anakin/Obi-Wan and Padme had more screen-time for bonding together. This aint Han/Luke/Leia. It’s not even the Bad Batch!
- It should be known, in universe, by this stage that jet packs are a ‘thing’ in Star Wars, surely?
- Bounty Hunters had the equipment, as did storm troopers. So of course ‘they fly’.
- If this is the fan service tribute intended, did they even bother doing archival research to the legacy media of previous films/cartoons etc? Bit of an oversight.
- And I say that as someone who accepts the in universe logic of a train heist in SOLO, amidst a setting where vehicles can hover and jump between planets.
- Poe is supposedly a top flight combat pilot. So presumably, he would know the arsenal of his enemy? But no. They desperately want him to be all cool and casual, culminating in his being exposed as a ‘spice runner’. HE IS NOT HAN SOLO, ffs.
- Finn is useless here and underused. Now would and could and SHOULD be the moment to have him show previously untapped power, even Jedi reflexes, thereby completing an actual character arc. But no. They will save that for Disney Plus.
- The scene leads us toward the worst exposition in the history of the series.
- So, Palpatine had a clone host body yet still fathered children who in turn had a grandchild (Rey) such that our heroine is neither a direct relative nor DNA replica of the Emperor?
- Confused..confusing..as is the notion that Luke Skywalker (and indeed Lando) were aware of that backstory and went looking for ‘Sith Daggers’ / way-finders..zzzzz…??????
Is the scene still fun in its way? Sure. Fast! Beautifully scored, edited, paced, filmed, colour graded and paired to first rate sfx. In that sense, it has the very best of Star Wars at once but alas, in service of one of its most mediocre, divisive and ill thought out episodes, ever. THAT is the crime of this scene. GUILTY!
But there is a ‘new hope’: thanks to THE MANDALORIAN. If in doubt of its merits, just watch the latest DISNEY GALLERY episode where the team takes us through how they brought back LUKE SKYWALKER. Inspirational stuff and bodes well for a future in a galaxy far, far away..